Text Asks Incumbent to Ensure Peaceful Transfer of Power in Line with Constitution
The Security Council endorsed today the decisions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to recognize Adama Barrow as President-elect of the Gambia.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2337 (2017), the Council requested that former President Yahya Jammeh carry out a peaceful transition and transfer power to the President-elect by 19 January 2017, in accordance with the Constitution.
The Council welcomed the decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council declaring that the outgoing leader would cease to be recognized as the legitimate President of the Gambia, while also declaring the outcome of the 1 December 2016 elections inviolable. It welcomed the Peace and Security Council’s call upon the outgoing President to keep to the “letter and spirit” of his speech of 2 December 2016, in which he congratulated President—elect Barrow.
Calling upon countries and relevant organizations in the region to cooperate with the President-elect to realize the transition of power, the Council requested that the Secretary-General facilitate political dialogue among Gambian stakeholders to ensure respect for the election outcome, and that he provide updates on the implementation of resolution 2337 (2017) within 10 days.
In the ensuing dialogue, members welcomed the unanimous adoption of resolution 2337 (2017), with many expressing support for ongoing mediation efforts by ECOWAS and the African Union. They called on the outgoing President to respect the legitimate voice of the Gambian people, as expressed in the elections.
A number of speakers, however, said the adoption did not imply the Council’s endorsement of possible military measures. Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia) said the situation would not endanger international peace and security, and the resolution could therefore not be seen as endorsing the use of force. A specific resolution would be needed for that purpose, he emphasized. Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), meanwhile, reaffirmed that the Council’s support for regional positions coincided with a belief in African solutions to African challenges, echoing a point made by China’s representative.
Some speakers said the negotiations on the resolution had been “rushed”, with Uruguay’s representative stressing that, as a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, his delegation would have preferred more inclusive discussions. However, Tekeda Alemu (Ethiopia) pointed out the rapid deterioration of the situation, underling the need for every effort to ensure that it did not descend into chaos. State institutions should not be allowed to collapse, he said, adding that the usurpation of power — and the unconstitutional move to retain it — should not be allowed to succeed.
Fodé Seck (Senegal) described the resolution as a continuation of efforts by ECOWAS and the United Nations to find a solution to the situation, and underscored the importance of President-elect Adama Barrow’s call to respect the will of the Gambian people.
Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Japan, France, United States, Italy and Sweden.
The meeting began at 1:07 p.m. and ended at 1:40 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2337 (2017) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of The Islamic Republic of the Gambia, and recalling the importance of the principles of good-neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
“Recalling the Statement of its President on 21 December 2016 on Peace consolidation in West Africa and the Press Statement of its Members on 10 December 2016 on the Gambia elections,
“Recalling the relevant provisions of Article 23 (4) of the African Union (AU) Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the provisions of the Supplementary Protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Democracy and Good Governance,
“Congratulating the Gambian people for the holding of the peaceful and transparent Presidential election on 1 December 2016,
“Noting the official results of the elections of 1 December 2016 issued by the Gambian Independent Electoral Commission which proclaimed the election of Mr. Adama Barrow as President, and which the former President of The Islamic Republic of the Gambia, Mr. Yahya Jammeh, himself publicly recognized and accepted on 2 December,
“Strongly condemning the statement by former President Jammeh, on 9 December rejecting the December 1 official election results and the takeover of the Independent Electoral Commission by the Gambian Armed Forces on 13 December 2016, and the attempt by the Parliament on 18 January 2017 to extend President Jammeh’s term for three months beyond his current mandate,
“Condemning in the strongest possible terms the attempts to usurp the will of the people and undermine the integrity of the electoral process in the Gambia,
“Condemning the attempt to prevent a peaceful and orderly transfer of power to President Barrow by declaring a state of emergency,
“Expressing grave concern at the risk of deterioration of the situation in the Gambia, recalling that the Gambian government bears primary responsibility for protecting human rights and protecting the civilian population in the Gambia and demanding that all stakeholders and parties act with maximum restraint, refrain from violence and remain calm,
“Commending the declaration of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) at its 647th meeting held on 13 January 2017 that as of 19 January 2017, outgoing President, Yahya Jammeh, will cease to be recognized by the AU as legitimate President of the Republic of the Gambia,
“Taking note of the communiqué of the Chairman of the African Union on 10 December 2016 and the joint Communique of The ECOWAS Commission, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) on 10 December 2016,
“Commending the initiatives of ECOWAS, including the visit of a ECOWAS/UN high level delegation in Banjul on 13 December 2016, led by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia and Chairperson of the ECOWAS authority, aimed at ensuring a peaceful and orderly transition of process in the Gambia, as well as the ECOWAS high level delegation in Banjul on 13 January 2017,
“Further welcoming the efforts of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President and Commander in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the ECOWAS Mediator in the Gambia and His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana as the Co-chair,
“Recognizing the important mediation role of Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS),
“Commending and strongly supporting the continued efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS to promote peace, stability and good governance in the Region,
“1. Urges all Gambian parties and stakeholders to respect the will of the people and the outcome of the election which recognized Adama Barrow as President-elect of the Gambia and representative of the freely expressed voice of the Gambian people as proclaimed by the Independent Electoral Commission;
“2. Endorses the decisions of ECOWAS and the African Union to recognize Mr. Adama Barrow as President of the Gambia;
“3. Calls upon the countries in the region and the relevant regional organisation to cooperate with President Barrow in his efforts to realize the transition of power;
“4. Welcomes the decisions on the Gambia of the Fiftieth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held in Abuja on 17 December 2016 and the decisions of The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 644th meeting held on 12 December 2016 and its 647th meeting held on 13 January 2017;
“5. Welcomes further the decisions of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), declaring the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential elections held on 1 December 2016 in the Gambia, calling upon former President Yahya Jammeh to keep to the letter and spirit of the speech he delivered on 2 December 2016, in which he welcomed the maturity of democracy in the Gambia and congratulated the President, Adama Barrow, and declaring further that, as of 19 January 2017, outgoing President Yahya Jammeh will cease to be recognized as legitimate President of the Republic of the Gambia;
“6. Expresses its full support to the ECOWAS in its commitment to ensure, by political means first, the respect of the will of the people of the Gambia as expressed in the results of 1st December elections;
“7. Requests former President Jammeh to carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power to President Adama Barrow by 19 January 2017 in accordance with the Gambian constitution;
“8. Emphasizes the importance that the safety of President Adama Barrow, and that of all Gambian citizens be fully ensured, and noted the decision of ECOWAS Fiftieth Session in this regard;
“9. Requests all stakeholders, within and outside the Gambia, to exercise restraint, respect the rule of law and ensure the peaceful transfer of power;
“10. Further requests the Gambian defence and security forces to demonstrate maximum restraint to maintain an atmosphere of calm in the Gambia and stresses their duty and obligation to place themselves at the disposal of the democratically elected authorities;
“11. Requests the Secretary General to update the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution within ten (10) days after its adoption;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General, including through his Special Representative, to facilitate, as appropriate, political dialogue between the Gambian stakeholders in order to ensure peace in the Gambia and respecting the outcome of the Presidential election as recognized by ECOWAS and African Union, and to provide technical assistance to the ECOWAS mediation where required;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”